As you progress through your pregnancy, you’re amazed at the dramatic changes in your body as it accommodates a growing life. While perfectly normal, there are some changes that can lead to musculoskeletal pain and discomfort, which perfectly describes sacroiliac joint dysfunction.
For relief from lower back pain caused by SI joint dysfunction, many people turn to SI joint injections, but are they safe when you’re pregnant? The answer to this is complex, which is why Dr. Anjum Bux and our team here at Bux Pain Management decided to focus on the topic here.
Let’s take a look.
Sacroiliac dysfunction and pregnancy
Many women have never heard of sacroiliac joints before they became pregnant, at which point these joints can be the source of considerable back, pelvis, and leg pain. In fact, SI joint dysfunction is one of the most common causes of low back pain in pregnant women
Your SI joints are located where your spine meets your pelvis, and you have one SI joint on either side of your sacrum, the lowest segment of your spine.
When you’re pregnant, your body releases relaxin, a hormone that’s designed to relax the soft connective tissues in your musculoskeletal structure to accommodate your growing fetus. As the hormones loosen the muscles and ligaments in your body, joint instability can become a problem, which is the case with SI dysfunction.
As a result, your muscles may take on too much of the workload to compensate for the loose ligaments in your SI joints, and/or the joints can impinge a nerve in your lower back and pelvis. In either case, you may be left with pain that can range from mild to severe, as well as symptoms that radiate through your pelvis and hips and into your legs.
SI joints and pregnancy
While pregnant women are more prone to SI dysfunction, anyone can develop this problem, and our typical treatment recommendation are SI joint injections. With this technique, we use live X-ray (fluoroscopy) to guide the needle into your SI joint(s), where we deliver a local anesthetic and corticosteroid for relief.
While highly effective and low risk, SI joint injections of this type aren’t generally recommended for pregnant women because of the presence of ionizing radiation when we use fluoroscopy.
Instead, we use ultrasound technology (sound waves) to guide the needle into position, allowing us to more safely deliver the same pain-relieving treatment when you’re pregnant.
Alongside these SI joint injections, we recommend the use of a maternity support belt and participation in physical therapy to help ease the musculoskeletal discomfort in your body.
If you have more questions or concerns about sacroiliac joint pain and your treatment options, please contact one of our locations in Lexington, Cynthiana, or Danville, Kentucky, to set up an appointment.